Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Grace to Listen

It has been awhile since my last post. In the time since, God has been giving me the privilege to speak and connect with women who are dealing with loss of all kinds. My best friend lost her father. Though she knew he was ill, there is nothing that can prepare for your father not being there. Nothing. Another friend is grieving through secondary infertility. They are facing struggles that are hard to put into words. Infertility is isolating and deeply personal. No couples journey is the same. In the past two weeks, two women I know have suffered miscarriages. Though they will heal in body, smile again and hopefully have more children, there really aren't words to express the loss they have had.

When you someone you love is in pain and crying out for help, it is natural to want to step in and solve it. I am a control freak. I love to solve it. Solving it is my thing. Except none of this is my thing. How do I comfort someone who has lost a father? Me, who has never really had a father. I can't even imagine what it would be like. Yet, the sister of my heart lost an anchor in her world. I have to do something. For me, God stepped in and stopped me from being ridiculous. I had no words to comfort her, but I had the ability to make dinner and clean. It is nothing. It is less than she has done for me, but it is all I knew to do. I am here to listen when she calls, and I don't always listen well. Listening and problem solving is a skill I am working on. I am lucky that she has the grace to be patient with me while I learn it.

It would seem that I am tailor made to comfort someone who is struggling with infertility, but I was just heartbroken that my friend hurt so much. Yes, I have been there. Yes, I "get" it. But I also know that no one can truly grasp the emptiness of this disease.  While we spoke, I was painfully aware of the weakness of my words. It is impossible to say, "it will be OK", because it may not be. I also don't want to overwhelm someone with my experiences, because this conversation wasn't about me. Once again, God told me to listen, and I was some what successful. It is still a skill I am working on.

Miscarriage is still a fresh wound for me. A deep fear and sharp pain always accompany a conversation around it.  Friends who have had early term miscarriages often minimize their experience to me. "Yes, I am sad, but it wasn't what you went through". No, it isn't what I went through, but losing a baby you want is indescribable and incomparable to others losses. Whether it was six weeks or 13, grief and pain are real. Yes, it is common, but that doesn't mean it isn't painful. These moments are when I don't want to say anything. I have no words. I am truly only able to listen. What I am able to say on here, becomes impossible in real life.  Strangely, this is the time I feel the most helpful. The most in touch.

I have spent the past month listening, God has been showing me that we all have suffering. We all have pain, and we all need someone to listen. If even for a moment. Just listen. Make a meal. Clean their house. Bring Coffee. Love through listening. This is tough for me, but I hope to become an expert at it.